Skipped Austrian doping tests lead to different handlings

The two U23 Austrian riders who skipped a doping control last week are being treated differently - one is considered to have purposely missed the test and will therefore be investigated, the other will be treated only as a disciplinary case, according to Rudolf Massak, general secretary of the Austrian cycling federation, ÖRV.

Massak explained that the doping controllers appeared Thursday evening while the team was eating dinner. The team was informed of the upcoming controls. Subsequently, Ebner and Markus Eibegger disappeared, "without saying that they were going or giving an explanation," said Massak. The two were subsequently removed from the World's team.

Ebner finally underwent a doping control test nearly 48 hours later. However, he had been selected to have the test made Thursday evening, and his disappearance is considered a refusal to take the test. Such a refusal is considered to be the equivalent of a positive test, and he is now threatened with up to a two-year ban. Massak said that the next step would be a request from the Austrian anti-doping committee for him to open an investigation against Ebner. "Which I will do," he said.

It appears that Markus Eiberger will come off far lighter. Since he had not been selected for a doping control, he is not considered to have evaded the test. He made a doping test some 24 hours later. "We have to wait for the results of his test, and we should get the results Wednesday or Thursday. Even if it is negative, he won't start at the World's," said Massak. "The fact is, that there will be a disciplinary action."

Eiberger himself gave contradictory reasons for his behaviour. He had recently finished an altitude training, and apparently was worried that this might reflect unfavourable in his blood values. "It was stupid that I lost my nerve, but I was worried that I would get a two-week ban, if my blood values were too high. But they turned out to be okay," he said.

On the other hand, he claimed not to know anything about the proposed controls in Thursday evening. "Nobody told me about it. I ate my salad and left. The ÖRV sees that as a behavioural problem and started a disciplinary hearing," he complained. It's too bad that he will miss the Worlds, he said, but it shouldn't affect his future career, which hasn't been looking too hopeful anyway. "I've been turned down by some of the big teams already this week. There was still a tiny chance with T-Mobile, but only if a lot of other riders had turned them down."

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